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Redskins quarterback situation remains incomplete

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The "Washington Post Live" team breaks down Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan's decision to start Rex Grossman for the rest of the season over Donovan McNabb.

Many in the organization wanted McNabb, though Kyle Shanahan was not among them. The offensive coordinator was among those who felt a quarterback like Marc Bulger would be a good fill-in choice until the Redskins could draft and develop a young quarterback. Coaches evaluated film of McNabb and noticed flaws in McNabb's performance - poor reads, inexplicably poor throws, stretches where he relied on freelancing too much - that they hoped to iron out during training camp. It didn't happen.

In benching McNabb with three games left on the schedule, Mike Shanahan has essentially conceded that he feels he's gotten the most he can out of McNabb - and that amounts to five wins on the season and only five touchdowns in the past four games.

The Redskins have seven picks in the upcoming draft, including selections in the first and second round. If their second-half slide continues, they will likely get a top-10 pick (only seven teams have won fewer games), giving them a chance to select one of the highly regarded college signal-callers.

In that scenario, the Redskins could bring back Grossman and Beck and possibly sign another veteran quarterback in free agency to battle with a rookie in training camp and the preseason. If a rookie struggles, as most rookies do, one of the veterans on the roster probably would start and the Shanahans could bring the kid along slowly during the season.

Of course, that means the process of a new quarterback learning Shanahan's offense, which should have occurred during the wasted 2010 season, may help undermine the 2011 season as well. That's probably not an appealing thought to owner Daniel Snyder and Redskins fans, but that's just the way it is now.

Mike Shanahan has player-personnel control and a five-year contract that is believed to pay him $7 million per season, so he can withstand one major blunder in picking a quarterback.

But Shanahan must nail the next one.

"Everyone knows how important that quarterback is to Coach Shanahan," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "He ain't gonna wait if he feels he need to go get one."


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